By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic
Pamela Pike’s Recollections
“Be Still My Soul” is a popular revival hymn written by Katharine von Schlegel (1697–1768) and translated into English by Jane L. Borthwick (1813–1897). The music was composed by Jean Sibelius, from his music “Finlandia.” His music is characterized by a nationalistic spirit along with poetry, often evoking his homeland’s majestic charm. The scripture reference of this hymn is found in Psalm 46:10; “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
David has blessed us with this beautiful hymn on several occasions, at his concerts, firesides and also included in David’s album “Begin” released last August 7, 2012 which he again sends tingles down your spine as his genius is spotlighted with this song.
In my review of “Begin” I stated:
His “Be Still My Soul” comes deep from the depth of his spirituality, his voice shines and soars and drives straight to the center of your heart. He sings with a conviction of his place in heaven, and perhaps his pace in singing history. The emotions David arouses and masters with this song establish his connection to his music and his faith.
I’m always struck by the depth of his lyrics and the honesty of his sound. One of the things that set certain singers apart from others is the distinctiveness of their voice. They are just unique, that was the thought I had while listening to David Archuleta. He has a tremendous talent and spirit and every note is perfect.
I still remember the first time I heard David sing this song. I was immediately gripped with the beauty of his vocals and how he reveals his real heart of worship. His tone makes you feel every word he sings and while he is immersed in the music it gives you a glimpse of the sheer majesty of his voice.
There are other hymns that David has used to touch our hearts at different times, but Be Still My Soul is one shinning start at the top of the list.
This song is breathtakingly glorious, always lifts my spirits and gently places me in the presence of God. It encourages us to trust God’s faithfulness and favor toward us, even in life’s darkest circumstances.
Singing is one of the great blessings of our worship together and the scriptures stress the importance of singing with “understanding.”
David more than any one of us knows this simply must not be forgotten.
Rosanne Simunovic’s Recollections
The first time I heard David sing this gorgeous hymn, I truly felt that I was in Heaven. His voice caressed the simple but expansive vocal line in a deeply soulful manner and the words resonated with me long after the song was over.
I have since listened to the song many, many times and have been moved to tears each and every time.
The song is not a difficult song to learn – the melody is a simple one and repeats from verse to verse.
However, what makes this performance truly special is the expressive manner in which David delivers the message contained in each verse.
By doing so, one never gets the feeling that we are listening to the same melody from verse to verse. Rather, we are taken on a very spiritual, very emotional journey, one that only David and his God-given voice can create for us.
Featured as one of the tracks on David’s luscious new album, “Begin”, this song takes on new life with the addition of a lovely cello and piano accompaniment.
How I love the sound of a cello – the plaintiff sound coming from this instrument just heightens the sense of tranquility and peace one feels while listening to this number.
And I was so taken with the soulful ad lib section, where David freely repeated “Be Still My Soul”, using his vocal gift to heighten the quiet intensity of this song.
Which brings me to another point – David never, ever over sings. He sings, passionately -yes, but he always has respect for the lyrics and the music. He sings as he would speak, with sustained inflection and nuance. And always with heartwarming sincerity.
As I write this article and listen to this song, all my worries and concerns just melted away.
Thank you David for bringing this song to my attention and for communicating it to your listeners in such a special and meaningful way.